Lady Bucs hang on to defeat Eastern Kentucky, 81-74
Senior B.J. Banjo scored a game-high 24 points in Tuesday's victory.
Senior B.J. Banjo scored a game-high 24 points in Tuesday's victory.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (November 29, 2005) - East Tennessee State drained 5-of-6 free throws in the last 18 seconds Tuesday night, as the Lady Bucs basketball squad topped Eastern Kentucky, 81-74, in Memorial Center.  Senior B.J. Banjo (Baltimore, Md.) led the way for ETSU, scoring a game-high and season-best 24 points, along with a season-high seven assists.


After trailing 42-39 going into the locker room, the Lady Colonials battled back to a six-point lead at 58-52 with 11 minutes to go in the second period.  ETSU chipped away at the deficit, rallying to a 60-59 lead with 9:10 left to play.  Senior Candace Gibson (Warner Robins, Ga.) came up big in the stretch, scoring six of her 17 points during the run.


A three-point play by EKU's Laura Shelton put the Lady Colonels back up by two, but Banjo answered with a layup at 4:30 to knot the score at 68.  The teams traded baskets before Michele DeVault (Columbus, Ohio) swished a three from the corner with 53 seconds to go, putting Lady Bucs up for good at 74-72. 


Banjo put ETSU up four with 25 seconds left, but EKU wouldn't go away, as Ashley Cazee nailed a pair of free throws, bringing EKU back within two.  Nichelle Akers (Sumter, S.C.) then hit both ends of her trip to the charity stripe at the 18 second mark, widening the lead to four.


Brooke Wilhoit (Sevierville, Tenn.) hit 3-of-4 free throws and blocked a Cazee three-point attempt in the last 16 seconds, giving the Lady Bucs the seven-point win.  Wilhoit had her best game this season, posting 15 points and five rebounds in 26 minutes on the floor.


After turning the ball over 10 times in the first half, the Lady Bucs held onto the ball in the second frame, making only three turnovers.  EKU totaled 24 give aways on the game.


EKU's Andrea Jenkins controlled the boards, pulling down a game-best 12 rebounds on the evening.  Jenkins also posted a team-high 14 points for the game's only double-double.  Banjo, DeVault, and Jenny Norman (Peachtree City, Ga.) led the Lady Bucs in rebounding, grabbing seven apiece.  Norman also had a good night offensively, scoring a career-best nine points.


The Lady Bucs came out strong, shooting out to the 6-0 in the first half with buckets by Gibson, Norman, and freshman Adaeze Azubuike (Lexington, Ky.).  EKU held just one brief lead in the first period, going up on at 32-31, thanks to a pair of free throws by Tamika Bowers.  


A Wilhoit layup put ETSU up five with just 11 second left in the first stanza, but Jayme Thiem brought the Lady Colonials within three with a two-point bucket as time expired.


The Lady Bucs have a pair of contests on tap for the weekend, as they open their inaugural Atlantic Sun campaign on Thursday, Dec. 1, as Belmont comes to Memorial Center for a 4:45 p.m. tipoff.  ETSU completes the weekend set with Lipscomb, at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3, also in the Mini-Dome.

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